STORY Making sense of our lives….

Steve picked up on the theme of last Sunday and got us thinking more about story.

Story-making is hard wired in human beings; it’s the way we make sense of life itself; we provide narratives to explain the world around us and our experience of it. These narratives we pass on from generation to generation.

We think of stories having a certain structure of their own.

Beginning > Middle > End

Or:  Where have we come from? Where are we now? Where are we going? 

Or: The Biblical narrative is sometimes broken into four stages outlining God’s plans for humanity: Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation. This seems to mirror our own life experience. We are created creatures hopefully aware of our “creatureliness”, aware of our fallenness, rejoicing in God’s rescue in Jesus and awaiting completion in the renewed earth.

1 Corinthians 15 v.1-8. This is the summary of the good news story passed on to Paul and which he in turn is passing on. He adds his personal story (“and last of all he appeared to me…”) to the narrative. He knows how he fits in to the “big picture”. We too have a place in that story.

Ultimately a narrative either has hope and meaning at its core or it does not have hope and meaning at all. Jesus’ life and death and resurrection ensure that our story ultimately gives purpose and significance both to us and to the whole of God’s created order.   

We placed stones around some of these ideas as symbols of thanks for those significant in our stories and of support for those needing Jesus now.

We shared bread and wine using these words:

And so we come to the story of the bread and wine. The story that began on a Thursday evening between friends sharing a Passover meal. A story framed by another story – both stories of redemption and of rescue.

That night, Jesus and his friends retold the story of God’s rescue of his people from slavery. And from that time God was known by the revered name ‘Redeemer’

That was their story

This is our song ‘ Guide me O thou great Redeemer’

That night Jesus broke bread, the unleavened bread of Isaac, the ‘that which is to come’ bread…

That was their story

This is our song ‘Great is thy faithfulness O God my Father’

Jesus spoke new meaning into the bread. ‘This is my body broken for you. Take and eat in memory of me’. This became the sacrament of his death on the cross and an everlasting sign that no area of life falls outside the presence and activity of God – even in the midst of extraordinary evil, suffering and death…

This is our story

This is our song ‘And I will trust in you alone’

That night Jesus and his friends drank wine – a reminder of the blood of a lamb slain to save life and a symbol of joy and thanksgiving

That was their story

This is our song ‘Thank you for saving me’

Jesus spoke new meaning into the wine ‘This is my blood, shed for you all for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me’. In so doing he revealed the culmination and climax of God’s self-limiting, self-emptying love. Love which began in the very act of creation with his gift of free will and the love that would be demonstrated in the out-pouring of Christ’s blood.

This is our story

This is our song ‘Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saves           a wretch like me’

And so we eat and drink, knowing that as we do so, we share in an on-going story of the triumph of good over evil, of hope over despair, of life over death

This is our story

This is our song ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.’